What is Iridology and can it help me?

Iridology is the study of the iris, it is the coloured part of the eye that surrounds the pupil. It has been used as a health assessment tool for centuries by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Indians and the Chinese. Even today we will look at a person’s eyes and intuitively assess their life force – we talk about the life has gone out of their eyes, or their eyes were full of joy, Everyone’s eye is different.

The grandfather of current iridology is considered to be a Hungarian -. Ignatz Von Peczely (1822-1911). When Ignatz was 11 he saw a trapped owl in his backyard, As he set it free the owl broke its leg and at that instant Ignatz saw a line form in the owls eye. As the owl started to heal Ignatz observed the line disappearing and this sparked his interest in studying eyes and how they related to health.

Ignatz studied to become a medical doctor. He observed his patients, their symptoms and the markings he saw in their eyes, Through the correlations he created the first iridology map.

Since that time many refinements have been made and continue to be made to the iris map. The basis of the map is that each area of the iris is a reflex of a different area of the body, Changes in fibre structure or colour of the iris may reflect that that organ or system may require more support than other areas of the body.

A modern day iridologist will take a photo of your eye to assess what your iris will reveal. Being able to use magnification assists the iridologist in assessing what they see in the iris, and having a photo also makes it easier to show their findings to their client.

An iridology chart or map is used when looking at the iris to compare signs, pigments, colours and fibre distortion with where they correlate in the chart and what part of the body that section refers to.

The right iris reflects body organs and systems found in the right side of the body, and the left iris reflects body organs and systems found in the left side of the iris.

Iridology is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that requires no needles or drugs. In minutes iridology will bring to attention areas of your body that need support because of your genetic imprint. Personality or Rayid iridology will also give you great insight into your personality and coping mechanisms. Iridology will give insight into the level of inflammation in the body, the quality of the person’s digestion and elimination, and their inherent tissue strength. Through all this iridology can often reveal what areas need support when a client has unexplained symptoms. The insight gained through iridology can turn a person’s health around and allow them to be proactive in taking care of their bodies.

It is important to note that iridology does not determine your sex, if you are pregnant or your life span, it also doesn’t name or diagnose specific diseases.

Iridology looks at taking a holistic approach to help and not just the symptoms of a particular condition. eg. If you are prone to headaches, the iridologist will look at areas such as blood sugar and the pancreas, spine and muscles to check for alignment and tension, mucous and the lymphatic system to assess toxin removal and the nervous system and adrenal glands to assess stress load and identify which area(s) require the most attention.

Through using the iris map, iridology is able to identify systems or areas of the body that require support before they become serious issues giving the client the opportunity to be proactive in their health and take action to prevent the development of a disease or disorder.

Most iridologists will use a natural approach to any recommendations they make and this may include changes to what the person eats and their lifestyle, or the addition of nutrients, herbs, homeopathic remedies or flower essences to assist the healing process.

In conclusion iridology is the study of the iris of the eye to evaluate the person’s health on a physical and personality perspective. It is non -invasive and can give insight into why a person has symptoms or health issues. The iridologist may then recommend natural treatments based on what they have found to support the persons health and wellbeing.

Examples of a right  and left iris below.

What is a Neti Pot? And will it help me?

Maybe someone has recommended you use a neti pot and you are wondering what are they? How do I use one? Will it help me?

A neti pot is used to flush out your nasal cavity and this is often referred to as nasal irrigation using water and salt.

When might you use a neti pot?

Neti pots are used to

  • Clear mucus and nasal congestion,
  • Clear nasal congestion due to dust or pollen.
  • Clear nasal congestion due to synthetic fragrances.
  • Clear nasal congestion from chemical exposure.
  • Reduce allergies including hay fever and seasonal allergies.
  • Help those with sinus infections both short and long term.
  • Sinus headaches and facial pain.
  • Reduce the load from viral upper respiratory infections – virus infection in the nose.
  • Reduce irritant based congestion – when you have been exposed to dust or something that has upset your nasal passage.
  • Reduce pregnancy related sinus congestion.
  • Reduce snoring if caused by sinus congestion, and this can help you and your partner sleep better.
  • Reduce the nasal congestion associated with colds or the flu.
  • Post nasal drip.

The neti pot may help you to breathe easier, and many also comment because their nasal passages are clearer their senses of smell and taste also improve.

What is a Neti Pot?

A neti pot looks like a small teapot and is usually made from plastic or ceramic. Neti pots have their origin in Ayurvedic medicine and Neti means nasal cleansing.

The design of the neti pot allows the user to flush out irritants such as dust and pollen, and to thin mucous by pouring saline solutions into the nostrils.

It is important to use a saline solution in your neti pot as water alone may irritate your nasal cavity.  It is also important to use good quality water such as distilled water, or water that has been boiled and stored in a closed clean container or filtered water.  Alternatively you can buy ready made saline solutions. If you are making your own the ratio is 1 cup of water to 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Using a neti pot can be messy and many choose to use their neti pot in the shower, alternatively you can lean over a sink.

You need to tilt your head sideways about 45 degrees. Place the spout of your neti pot in your nostril that is closest to the ceiling.

Slowly pour the contents of the neti pot into your upper nostril, keep your mouth open whilst you do this to help you breathe easier.  The contents will start to pour out your other nostril. You are now doing nasal irrigation.  When your neti pot is half way swap to the other nostril.

This will take between 3 to 5 minutes – once you have done it a few times it gets easier and less messy.

The aim of the neti pot is to clear out any excess mucus, irritation and invaders from the inside of your nose, and make your nose and sinus area healthier and clearer.

After every use make sure you clean you neti pot with good quality water and then allow it to air dry before you use it again.

Always wash your hands before and after using your neti pot to avoid the transfer of germs

Never share your neti pot with anyone else, you are likely to share germs that way.

If you suffer from sinus congestion, hay fever, allergies,  frequent nasal congestion or colds and flus bother you, it may be worth giving a neti pot a go. It is easy to use and inexpensive therapy that can have amazing benefits in as little as 5 minutes.

We are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another. With your health be informed so you can make the best decision for you, and if in doubt seek the advice of a natural health care professional.

Quiet the mind

Our minds seem to travel at lightning speed jumping from one thing to another – and one worry or concern to another. Stilling the mind is an important aspect of reducing stress and helping us to feel good about ourselves.

Today’s society is very go hard, go fast and go more places. It is hard to find stillness and quiet in that. The continual fast pace of life means that we are living in a constant state of stress. So much so that many of us do not realise we are stressed. Stress used to be something that was associated with an extreme event of a physical, emotional or spiritual source. Now stresses are endemic and we are living it constantly every minute of every day and as a result we our nervous system never reverts to relaxation.

The stress response in the body is based on a balance between two branches of the nervous system – they are called the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

Ideally the sympathetic nervous system is ignited as an immediate stress response reacting to something that has just happened, we react to this event and in a short period of time – usually less than a minute, 10 minutes at the most, the danger is over and the sympathetic nervous system can relax and the parasympathetic nervous system can come back into life.

Picture this, You are out for a walk and a wild bear suddenly appears in the path in front of you. Your body immediately senses danger and prepares you to fight the bear, or flight (run away) from it.  To do this you need energy in your feet and legs to run, and energy in your arms to fight this creature, and your heart to beat faster so you can do this. Your sympathetic system gets everything activated in a matter of microseconds and you are ready to go. To do this it takes energy from your digestive system, it knows you don’t need to digest breakfast. If your nervous system doesn’t save you then you are going to be the bear’s breakfast. It also takes energy from your reproductive system, you don’t need to get pregnant right now, and your immune system. You body has worked out what it needs for immediate survival.

Today we are going to run away from the bear to safety, in that split second we decided we have a better chance of running quicker than the bear, than trying to fight the bear with our bare hands.

We run away and use up that energy that the body has shunted from our digestive, reproductive and  immune systems – Whew we are safe! Well done you and your nervous system. The bear has now ambled off and is out of your life.

In the perfect world what would happen is that you would realise you are safe and your parasympathetic nervous system would take over and your digestive, reproductive and immune systems would return to normal.

So why doesn’t that happen?

Today we don’t have many wild bears on our path. What we have is a constant barrage of stress from things like – not enough money, poor health, relationship issues, not liking our jobs, a mean boss, a child with special needs, an aging parent that needs care, busy traffic and stressful commutes, a constant barrage of email and social media to attend to, then add to that feelings of not being good enough, of needing to do more, to be thinner, to be prettier, to be more …

This constant bombardment means our body feels constantly under stress and our mind is constantly on the go.

When was the last time your mind was quiet for even 5 minutes?

It is important that we learn to quieten our mind, as this helps us to feel good about ourselves, to plan rather than react, to nourish ourselves, to activate our digestion, reproductive and immune systems.

One of the top suggestions to help quieten our mind is meditation. Which is great except, that busy mind means meditation just becomes another frustration. We feel a sense of failure from it as our mind wont stop long enough for peace to enter. So what can we do?

Start with something that can occupy part of your body.

A colouring in book is a great tool to start with, It requires little investment, a colouring in book and some pencils and 10 minutes.  Set aside 10 minutes a day for colouring in, set a timer. Colouring in frees you from having to produce an art piece, it gives you some structure whilst still giving you some creative license – if you want to colour the sky green you can.

If colouring in is not your thing consider playing a musical instrument, doing a jigsaw, painting, crochet, knitting or other craft, baking, gardening, or photography.  Find something that you love, that you can do every day for 10 minutes and that feeds your soul.  That 10 minutes will start to turn your world around and as you master your chosen craft you will create something and that enriches your soul and life.

When you feel ready,  you can progress to meditation, start with small chunks.  3 minutes a day is a good starting place for meditation.

Flower essences can be an amazing tool to assist in stilling the mind you may consider –

  • White Chestnut
  • Cherry Plum
  • Rose Cone Flower
  • Pink Fairy Orchid
  • Yellow Flag Flower
  • Black eyed Susan
  • Boronia

We are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another. With your health be informed so you can make the best decision for you, and if in doubt seek the advice of a natural health care professional.

Stick your Tongue Out! What does your tongue say?

Your tongue has a story to tell you about your health.

It used to be a routine request when you went to see a health professional, they would look at your tongue.

What does your tongue tell you? Your tongue changes very quickly.

Think about the last time you had a cold and how thick and furry your tongue was.

Or remember the last time you had a big night out and how horrible your mouth and tongue was the next morning. Not to mention how your head felt and how your energy levels had plummeted.

When you start to regularly observe your tongue, you get to know what is normal for you and then you start to notice when changes happen.

The best way to look at your tongue is to stick it out and use a torch to light it. You can then use a mirror to see what it shows you, or you may like to use the camera in your phone to take a photo of your tongue – that way you get to keep a record of what it is doing and the changes it makes.

Having a torch is also great if you start to look at other people’s tongues whether that is family, friends or clients the torch elevates your status to being a professional. With a torch others no longer feel self conscious they trust that you are the authority and know what you are doing.

Now you are looking at your tongue what are you looking for?

The first thing is colour.

The colour of your tongue should be even and a pale pink. Notice if there is any coating and where the coating is. Is the coating at the back? Is the coating thick or thin?

If you have a creamy coating at the back of your tongue this often indicates that your body is too acidic. You may want to check if you need to increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Also know that stress can make your body more acidic and that you may need to address your stress levels and bring in some relaxation.

If your tongue is coated all over this can indicate that your lymphatic system is under a load. This may possibly mean that you are coming down with a cold or flu. It could also mean that your body is coping with more toxins than ideal. It may be time to support your immune system and your detox pathways.

The tongue on the left shows a white coating, whilst the tongue on the right is a normal tongue.

Notice if there are any cracks on the tongue, Are there many cracks, or one central crack? Cracks in your tongue can often indicate dehydration. You may want to check how much water you are drinking.

Is your tongue still or does it quiver and shake all the time? If your tongue is constantly moving this may indicate that your stress load is higher than ideal, what can you do to help you relax? How can you reduce your stress load?

Is there any dent marks around the edge of your tongue or is the edge even.  The dent marks are marks your teeth make because your tongue is swollen.  This fluid retention may be due to the load your liver is under. Have you been consuming more alcohol than recommended or is your liver under a load for other reasons. Some liver support and detox may be required.

Please note if your whole tongue is swollen this often indicates an allergic reaction and you need to get that checked immediately.

The above tongue shows dent marks along the edge of the tongue.

Cleaning your tongue takes away some key indicators and clears the coating on your tongue and may mean you miss seeing some valuable signs.

These are some key tongue signs and what they can indicate. It is worth checking your tongue and seeing what information it can tell you. When you start to regularly check your tongue you get to see what is normal for you and when changes occur.

We are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another. With your health be informed so you can make the best decision for you, and if in doubt seek the advice of a natural health care professional.

Find out more about tongue signs during natural medicine week in the free workshop Body Wisdom. You can book here https://www.trybooking.com/eventlist/healingsolutionsau

If you would like to know more about tongue signs please visit your natural health practitioner.

You Have The World At Your Feet

Our feet are incredible! Not only do they contain many acupressure points through meridian channels and are a hologram of the whole body, as seen through Reflexology, they also relate to the major chakras.

Most of us are aware these major chakras connect to the spine but they also connect to the chakras in the feet.

The chakras on our feet allow direct messaging with the Earth Star chakra to communicate directly with the major chakras via channels in the legs. They help us assimilate energy from the earth by acting as transformers to regulate the energy from the earth into our light body.

One of the main functions of the feet chakras is to discharge excess energy that has been accumulated in the major chakras each day, by sending it into the ground.

When the feet and rest of body is in harmony there is a constant connection between our energies and the earth energy grids via our feet chakras.

The Base Chakra is on the heel foot.

As our heels touch the ground first with every step we take, this chakra helps us feel grounded.  The Root Chakra, located at the base of the spine, governs our sense of security, stability, and connection to the physical world. It is deeply connected to the feet as they serve as our foundation and primary contact point with the Earth. Activation and balancing of the Root Chakra often involve grounding practices that encourage a strong connection with the Earth’s energy, which is facilitated through the feet.

The Sacral Chakra corresponds to the little toe.

The Sacral Chakra, situated in the lower abdomen, is associated with creativity, passion, and emotional well-being. While it is not directly connected to the feet, imbalances in the Sacral Chakra can manifest as issues related to movement and flexibility, which can affect the feet indirectly.

The Solar plexus Chakra Big Toe.

The Solar Plexus Chakra, located in the upper abdomen, governs our self-esteem, personal power, and confidence. While its connection to the feet may not be as direct as the Root Chakra, a balanced Solar Plexus Chakra contributes to a sense of balance and coordination, which is essential for proper foot posture and movement.

The Heart Chakra Second Toe.

The Heart Chakra, situated in the center of the chest, is the seat of love, compassion, and emotional balance. While not directly connected to the feet, a harmonious Heart Chakra fosters a sense of connection and empathy, which can influence how we perceive and treat our feet, as well as how we connect with others through activities such as walking or dancing.

The Throat Chakra Third Toe.

The Throat Chakra, located at the base of the throat, governs communication, self-expression, and authenticity. While its connection to the feet may not be obvious, imbalances in the Throat Chakra can manifest as issues related to posture or gait, which can affect the feet indirectly.

The Third Eye Chakra is related to the fourth toe.

The Third Eye Chakra, situated between the eyebrows, is associated with intuition, perception, and inner wisdom. While its connection to the feet may not be direct, a balanced Third Eye Chakra can enhance our ability to trust our instincts and make decisions that support our overall well-being, including choices related to foot health and care.

The Crown Chakra is related to the sole of the foot.

Sole=Soul!  It is the most important foot chakra as it has 6 secondary points which directly reflect the minor chakras in the head.

The Crown Chakra, located at the top of the head, is the highest energy center in the body, governing our connection to the divine and higher consciousness. While its connection to the feet may not be apparent, a balanced Crown Chakra fosters a sense of spiritual alignment and purpose, which can influence how we walk our path in life, including how we care for and connect with our feet.

By nurturing and harmonizing these subtle energy centers in our feet, we can enhance our connection with ourselves, the Earth, and the cosmos, paving the way for holistic health and spiritual growth. So, let’s take a step forward and connect to our feet by massaging them, anointing them with beautiful oils and decide which colour socks to wear based on which chakra we want to give extra energy to that day!

Better Brains: 7 Foundational Strategies for Cognitive Health

In today’s fast-paced world, where multitasking is more a necessity than a choice, maintaining cognitive health is crucial for our lives. Cognitive health encompasses our ability to think, learn and remember – essentially, it’s the bedrock of our daily functioning and a vital component of our overall health and wellbeing. With the rise in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cognitive decline in modern society, understanding and nurturing our cognitive health has never been more critical.

Symptoms of cognitive decline include:

  • Progressive, persistent and frequent memory loss or difficulties, especially of recent events
  • Vagueness in everyday conversation
  • Confusion
  • Personality changes and emotional unpredictability
  • Apathy and withdrawal
  • Loss of ability to perform everyday tasks
  • Apparent loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities
  • Taking longer to do routine tasks
  • Forgetting well-known people or places
  • Inability to process questions and instructions
  • Deterioration of social skills

The alarming rise of cognitive decline

Recent statistics paint a concerning picture: Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of cognitive decline are on the rise, affecting millions globally. There are 250 people diagnosed everyday with dementia in Australia and it is the leading cause of death for women.[1,2]

But why are these numbers soaring? Our daily lifestyle choices and environmental factors have a profound impact on our brain health. Sedentary lifestyle, poor diets and unchecked stress are just the tip of the iceberg. However, the silver lining is that 40% of dementia cases are associated with some easily modifiable risk factors[3] and positive changes in our lifestyle can significantly bolster our cognitive function.

The basics for cognitive health and resilience

Neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity, refers to the brain’s ability to change, at any age, for better or worse. This flexibility plays an important role in our brain development (or decline) and in shaping our distinct personalities. It is a process that involves structural and functional changes to the brain, whereby the brain reorganises and adapts to stimuli and external influences.[4]

There are seven pillars that are crucial for promoting neuroplasticity and cognitive health – diet/nutrition, physical exercise, mental stimulation, sleep, stress management, detox and supplements.

These foundations have been coined by Dr Dale Bredesen, internationally recognised expert in neurodegenerative diseases, author of The End of Alzheimer’s and founder of the ReCODE Protocol™, as the Bredesen 7.

  1. Nourishment for the mind: Diet and cognitive function

A brain-healthy diet is rich in nutrients, emphasising plant-based foods, lean proteins and healthy fats, like those found in the Mediterranean and KetoFLEX 12/3 diets. Such diets, coupled with intermittent fasting, provide the brain with the necessary nutrients for optimal function, while also reducing inflammation and supporting metabolic health.

  1. The role of physical exercise in brain health

Physical activity povides a powerhouse of cognitive benefits. Regular exercise, particularly a mix of aerobic, strength training and mind-body practices, can enhance blood flow to the brain, improve neurotransmitter function and stimulate the growth of new neural connections.

  1. Mental stimulation: The key to longevity

Challenging the brain through continuous learning and mental engagement fosters neuroplasticity, and can significantly enhance cognitive resilience and delay cognitive decline. Daily activities to support these processes should include: learning new skills or hobbies, participating in groups and building a supportive social network, listening to music, dancing, doing puzzles and crosswords or using brain training programs.

The importance of social connections for mental wellbeing

Human beings are inherently social creatures, and maintaining strong social connections can have a profound positive effect on cognitive health. Engaging in social activities, nurturing relationships and even pet ownership can provide mental stimulation and emotional support, contributing to a healthier brain.

  1. Sleep: The unsung hero of cognitive health

Sleep is not just rest for the body but also for the brain. It plays a critical role in memory consolidation, the removal of toxins (such as beta-amyloid) by the glymphatic system and overall cognitive maintenance.

Ensuring 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night can dramatically improve cognitive function and health, and enhance focus, learning, memory formation and decision-making.

  1. Managing stress for cognitive wellbeing

Chronic stress can have a detrimental effect on the brain, affecting cognition, concentration and decision making.[5] Incorporating stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, meditative movement practices like qigong, tai chi and yoga, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and gratitude, as powerful tools into daily routines can help mitigate the effects of stress, promoting a healthier, more resilient brain.

  1. Detoxification processes and cognitive function

Reducing exposure to toxins and pollutants is essential for cognitive health. Simple steps like using water and air filters, choosing organic foods and supporting the body’s natural detoxification processes (via the liver, kidneys and skin) can contribute significantly to maintaining cognitive function.

  1. Supplements: An additional layer of support

While a balanced diet and a healthy, happy lifestyle is the cornerstone of good health, as outlined in the first 6 foundations, certain supplements can provide additional support for better cognitive function.

Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, magnesium, curcumin and nootropics such as gingko and withania, tailored to individual needs and determined through specific assessments and testing, can enhance brain health and offer an extra layer of protection against cognitive decline.

Embracing a holistic approach to cognitive health

Cognitive decline (and AD) is not caused by a single event or just one risk factor; there are many inputs that affect the complex systems of our body and influence brain health and whether AD develops or progresses. And just like any risk factors: the more you eliminate, the lower your risk.

Cognitive health is an integral part of a healthy and happy life (for you and your family) that requires a proactive, holistic approach. By integrating these 7 foundational strategies into your daily life, you can not only enhance your cognitive function but also significantly reduce the risk of cognitive decline. It’s a journey worth embarking on, to ensure your cognitive faculties remain sharp and resilient, enabling enjoyment of a fulfilling, vibrant life.

References:

  1. CSIRO 2021, https://www.csiro.au/en/research/health-medical/diseases/detecting-alzheimers-disease-risk
  2. Dementia Australia 2023, https://www.dementia.org.au/about-dementia/dementia-facts-and-figures
  3. Livingston G, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. Lancet 2020;396:413-446.
  4. Pacific Neuroscience Institute 2024, https://www.pacificneuroscienceinstitute.org/blog/brain-health/neuroplasticity-and-healthy-aging-what-you-need-to-know/
  5. McEwen BS. Neurobiological and systemic effects of chronic stress. Chronic Stress (Thousand Oaks) 2017;1:2470547017692328.

Easing Text Neck with Bowen Therapy: A Gentle Solution

In our fast-paced digital era, a new health concern is gaining prominence, one that’s emblematic of our times: text neck. This condition, stemming from the prolonged use of smartphones and other devices, highlights the unintended consequences of technology’s ubiquity in our lives. As we delve into this modern malaise, it’s essential to explore holistic remedies that address not only the symptoms but also the root causes. One such solution is Bowen Therapy, a gentle yet powerful approach to healing that is gaining traction in wellness circles, particularly in locales like Brisbane where wellness is increasingly prioritised.

The Rise of Text Neck in the Digital Age

Text neck manifests from the all-too-common posture of bending forward to interact with our devices. This unnatural angle places undue stress on the neck and spine, leading to a spectrum of ailments. Chronic headaches, cervical stiffness, and pain across various body parts are just the tip of the iceberg. More severe consequences can include nerve damage, spinal degeneration, and even respiratory issues, painting a dire picture of text neck’s potential impact.

The Benefits of Bowen Therapy for Digital Age Ailments

Bowen Therapy transcends conventional treatments by focusing on the body’s inherent capacity for healing. By targeting specific points with gentle movements, Bowen Therapy facilitates muscle relaxation, posture realignment, and systemic rebalance. For individuals grappling with text neck, Bowen Therapy offers a multitude of benefits. It’s not merely about symptom relief; this therapy aims to realign posture, thereby addressing one of the fundamental causes of text neck. Through a series of sessions, individuals can experience relief from neck and back pain, an improvement in posture, and a notable enhancement in overall well-being.

Bowen Therapy: A Key Player in Modern Wellness Practices

In the context of modern wellness practices, Bowen Therapy stands out for its non-invasive nature and holistic benefits. At Bowen Life, Brisbane, we understand the challenges posed by text neck and the digital lifestyle’s demands. Our approach is grounded in personalised care, utilising Bowen Therapy to offer relief and promote long-term health. We are committed to guiding our clients towards a balanced state of well-being, empowering them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives in this digital age.

As we navigate the complexities of life in the digital era, it’s crucial to adopt holistic healing practices that address both the symptoms and the underlying causes of conditions like text neck. Bowen Therapy, with its focus on whole-body health, offers a promising pathway to recovery and resilience. By incorporating this gentle yet effective therapy into our wellness routines, we can counteract the adverse effects of our digital habits and foster a healthier, more balanced life.

For residents of Brisbane seeking relief from the burdens of text neck, a special offer awaits. In celebration of Natural Medicine Week, mention this blog when booking your first session at Bowen Life and receive a 10% discount. It’s our way of supporting your journey toward optimal health and posture. Discover more about our services and how we can assist you at www.bowen-life.com.au or connect with us through our Facebook page. Let’s take the first step together towards a more comfortable, balanced life free from the discomfort of text neck.

What is a Paediatric Naturopath?

Children playing in a room together

Understanding Paediatric Naturopathy

In the world of natural medicine, paediatric naturopathy is emerging as a specialised field that embodies the principles of naturopathic medicine tailored specifically for infants, children, and adolescents.

Children commonly experience a range of unique health challenges not always seen in adults. As children grow and learn, they experience things for the first time, like an increase in food variety, new social situations, noises, sounds as well as some of the more complex skills to master such as expression of feelings and the processing of emotions. These call all be very new, and to some children very overwhelming.

Children also experience common childhood illnesses, can be more susceptible to colds, flu, as well as experience a range of digestive issues as their gut and immune systems are still maturing.

A paediatric naturopath works not only with the child, but also with the parents and carers of the child, emphasising the importance of individualised treatment, while addressing the underlying causes of the illness rather than merely alleviating symptoms.

Key approaches in paediatric naturopathy

The fundamentals of our adult health habits are formed in childhood. A key reason why focusing on health at an early age is so important. A paediatric naturopath treats a child using a range of fundamental philosophies:

  1. Holistic Approach: Paediatric naturopaths view the child as a whole, taking into account physical, mental, emotional, and environmental factors influencing their health.
  2. Functional Testing: It’s hard to know what to treat if you’re only guessing what could be the cause. Functional testing – such as testing for things like food allergies or intolerances, or more comprehensive testing like a child’s microbiome is an important part of the successful treatment of a child.
  3. Natural Remedies: Following proper assessment, treatment can include a range of things such as herbal medicine, nutritional therapy and lifestyle support and advice, allowing the body’s natural healing mechanisms to take over wherever possible.
  4. Prevention: Emphasis is placed on preventive strategies such as healthy diet, adequate sleep and regular physical activity to strengthen the child’s immune system and prevent illness. Natural remedies commonly feature as an added way to support preventative treatment.
  5. Educating parents and caregivers: At times, being a parent is an overwhelming job! Not only is a paediatric naturopath experienced in the specific health needs of children, but they are also ready and willing to share all of their knowledge by educating parents and carers about healthy lifestyle choices and natural remedies so they can actively participate in their child’s healthcare journey.

Integration with conventional care

A paediatric naturopath can add great value as an integrated part of a child’s conventional healthcare providers. Commonly, kids with more complicated health issues may be seeing a range of health professionals including paediatricians or other medical specialists not limited to occupational therapists or speech therapists. Each have a different approach, philosophy, and scope of practice but as a team work well to help provide long-term health solutions for a child.

A paediatric naturopath fits in well with a child’s overall health team, bringing to the party unique training, skills and knowledge specifically focussed around nutrition and natural remedies to assist with the common, on not-so-common, childhood health concerns.

Children’s diets shaping their health 

Diet alone is a key consideration with kids, as this is the place where they get their main vitamins, minerals and nutrients to grow.

A typical Australian child’s diet often includes a mix of various food groups, influenced by cultural, economic, and social factors. However, for some, particularly children who have any level of neurodivergence, diet is also all about sensory sensitivities and behavioural considerations so simply recommending a balanced diet is not always a viable solution.

Dietary behaviours in Australian children is in fact quite alarming. According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data, fruit and vegetable consumption in Australian children is declining, with fewer children aged 2–17 years meeting the fruit and vegetable recommendations compared to 2017–18[1].

Additionally, there’s a growing prevalence of excessive consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats among Australian children.

This dietary trend poses substantial health risks to children as they age. To address these challenges requires a multi-tiered approach that supports the great work paediatric naturopaths are doing, including public health initiatives, parent education, and even policy interventions to promote healthier eating habits.

The reward of working with children

Working with children is incredibly rewarding and an opportunity to improve long-term health outcomes.

Educating both a child, and their parents on the healing power of food and herbs helps to show the complementary side of healthcare. Building trust and rapport with both children and parents is paramount, tailoring treatments to each child’s unique needs. Whether addressing common ailments like colds and allergies or chronic conditions such as asthma or ADHD, gentle, non-invasive therapies are important in supporting their growing bodies and nurture their innate healing abilities. Working with kids requires patience, creativity, and a deep understanding of developmental stages.

Some children will have doctors and specialists as part of their healthcare plan into adulthood, so showing them the powerful healing side of what exists in nature is both rewarding and inspiring.

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2022). Dietary behaviour. ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/dietary-behaviour/latest-release.

How holistic treatment with Tuina Massage can help

Holistic treatment is based on treating the person as a whole, not isolating one area of the body from the other and incorporating the energy flow of Qi to bring back to homeostasis.

Tuina is an ancient form of Traditional Chinese Massage used for centuries. Based on a holistic health approach of treating the person as a whole to balance the energy flow of Qi in the body.

Qi is the energy of everything and is from our vital force to the vapour of the air we breathe.

If you have a reoccurring injury, illness or issue then it is best you look at finding what caused the imbalance in the first place, the core of your problem. I use a blend of Acu-Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Acupressure, Dry Needling, Cupping, Guasha, Kinesiology, Lymphatic Massage, Moxibustion, Myofascial Techniques, Reflexology, TCM Remedial Massage and Mind-Body Medicine therapies to alleviate anxiety, mood disorders, pain, PTSD, stress with expanding or contracting the physical to spiritual layers of energy and unblocking any stagnant energy and releasing trauma held within the mind, body or soul.

A simple explanation for a holistic approach to a problem with constant pain or tightness in your Anterior Tibialis – the front outside area of your leg between your knee to your ankle.

Structural:

  • Gait system – cross/crawl walking could be out. Look at shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and/or feet.
  • Any or all the different areas of the gait system could be out or the Golgi’s, tendons, ligaments or muscles need to be realigned with acupressure, massage techniques or meridian balance or massage.
  • Flat feet.
  • Gait system – walking could be homolateral or contralateral.
  • Gait system because there is a coordination issue not crawling properly and the brain and gait system are not integrated.
  • Gait system – not walking properly with homolateral or contralateral since walking as a toddler, or as a teenager or adult from an injury or accident and integration has been compromised.
  • Myofascial release on any of the myofascial trains that connect various areas of the body.

Biochemical:

  • Imbalance of electrolytes as it is a Water Element muscle for the bladder
  • Not drinking enough water – dehydration may cause hypernatremia
  • Drinking too much water – over hydration and may cause hyponatremia
  • Issue with the bladder having incontinence which also involves the organ of the brain or nerves connected to the spine and/or brain

Psychological: Anxiety, Fear and Phobias

  • Fear of water
  • Fear of drowning
  • Fear of social interaction or external environment
  • Loves looking at the water as long as it is calm
  • The flow of the water and how it moves can indicate the different emotions and other elements and/or meridians at play

Spiritual or Electromagnetic Layer:

  • Brain
  • Nerves
  • Organs – brain and/or bladder
  • Salt water is what our plasma is made up of

The gait system is complex and since studying Kinesiology in 2005 I have found that the majority of people have tension in the Anterior Deltoid muscle of the upper arm just below the shoulder on the front. Tension in this muscle relates to the gait system, gall bladder and swinging movement from side to side – hence why the shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and feet are at play. The Anterior Deltoid is a gall bladder muscle and relates to anger and frustration.

Physical and emotional aspects can be corrected holistically by balancing the gall bladder muscle or gall bladder meridian or gall bladder acupressure points on the side of the torso of the body to the head like a map of Australia – the wood element as it is part of the gait system.

Holding or tapping emotional stress points GB 14 or placing your hand over your forehead can help you feel better.

Anxiety, depression and stress can grow if we don’t learn to breathe, walk and talk with ease.

Our connection to what surrounds us externally and what we feel internally affects how our body responds.

Clean water, clean food, regular exercise and regular maintenance on ourselves is the key to health and wellness.

Chinese principle is to promote health and longevity promoting qi flow with Tuina Massage.

The power of words and how they can control you

Ever stood still and thought about how words can affect you and how you feel?

Looking at it simply; our feelings can get triggered by the words we hear (from others and ourselves).

Hearing something like “You’re not working fast enough” might cause feelings of hurt, anger, frustration or fear.

And when we feel like this our bodies react to it. Anger can cause our body to tense up. Fear can cause the body to be in a constant state of high alert/panic. Feeling hurt can make the body feel sluggish and lethargic. All of which cause the body to work at a less than optimum level. Causing our bodies to work extra hard, or to shut down all together.

Your body listens to your words and thoughts. This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with reality, but revolves solely around your perception.

Eg, Your body will react a certain way when it ‘thinks’ there is a snake on the path, but it wont react if it ‘thinks’ there is a branch on the path. Therefore what you think and say is incredibly important.

One of the most common phrases that can cause you to feel stuck are the words “Have to”.

Please take a minute to do the following exercise:

Think back and make a list of some of the sentences you have said or thought that started with the words “I have to…..”

In a private space, take a few deep breaths into your belly, and try to relax your body as much as you can.

Once you are feeling relaxed, I’d like you to focus on the different things that you have written down.

Eg.         I have to go to work

I have to clean the house

I have to cook dinner

I have to visit my mother

I have to……

I have to……

And notice with every statement how your body reacts and feels.

Does it feel heavy or light, tensed or relaxed?

The words “Have to” tells the body that you have no other choice. And the fact that there is no choice creates a feeling of being burdened with another chore, making us feel heavier.

This also means the brain is not on the lookout for any other opportunities because it has not been given a choice.

Now, what if we changed the heavy energy we get  from “I have to” into a lighter one, and telling the body and brain “we have a choice!”

Rewrite your list of “I have to….”  By replacing the words with  “I choose to….”

Then take a few more deep breaths as you sit with each of the “I choose” statements and notice how the body is feeling now.

Remember that all we can do, is to make the best choices we can, with the information we have in that moment, and what feels best for us, at the time.

As time moves on we might get different information or have learned more. You are always allowed to change your mind at any time! Your choices are based on what you knew and how you felt at that point in time, and was the best possible choice for you at that moment.

So it is always important to reflect and check in on those choices, and make sure they are still working for you. (And if not…. change your choices!)

I would like you to challenge yourself, and ask “Do you really HAVE TO?? And according to whom?”

Have a read from the example below from someone who feels stuck in their job.

Person A: I have to go to work!

Challenger: Why and according to whom?

Person A: According to my partner and myself, I have to earn money to provide for my family.

Challenger: What happens if you did not go to work?

Person A: We would be living on the streets, and I don’t want that.

Challenger: So you have a choice: to go to work or live on the streets?

Person A: I suppose there is a choice, but I don’t want that.

Challenger:  So in other words: “You choose to work, because you want to be able to support and provide for your family”

Person A: When you put it like that…….. It does feel better.

Challenger: Great! But if you do not like the job have, why not change it?

Person A: I have to, I can’t find another job that pays enough.

Challenger: If there was another job available would you take it?

Person A: Yes, I would.

Challenger: So “You choose to stay in this job, until there is another one available”.

Making a statement that says “I have to stay in this job even though I don’t like it” puts the brain to sleep, as you have already made up your mind, it believes that it’s not negotiable, so no need to look for any other possibilities.

Making a statement that says “I choose to stay in this job to provide for my family, until I can find a job I enjoy better“ forces the brain to wake up and be on the lookout. So it will stay alert and scan your environment for other possibilities and opportunities.

Feel the difference.

Set a challenge for yourself and change your thoughts and words from “I have to” 🡪 “I choose to”   and you will start to feel a lot more in control in life.